Shark protections, shark careers, and sharky grammar: Dear Shark Man, Volume 1

Welcome to volume #1 of Dear Shark Man, an advice column inspired by a ridiculous e-mail I received. You can send your questions to me via twitter (@WhySharksMatter) or e-mail (WhySharksMatter at gmail).

Dear Shark Man,

Have you seen this New Scientist article (“Sharks now protected no matter whose waters they swim in?)
Is this good news? It seems too good to be true.

Skeptical in Seattle

Dear Skeptical,

You are correct to be, um, skeptical. At best, this article is an oversimplification of a very complex problem. Many shark species migrate through the territorial waters of multiple nations, which complicates any conservation and management plans for these species. The Convention on Migratory Species, which is what the New Scientist article is about, is an attempt to help. However, a CMS listing is only the first step, and it does not inherently require any legal protections. Thus far, CMS listings for sharks have not resulted in any concrete legal protections for these species. The World Wildlife Fund’s shark expert, Ian Campbell, has written a great summary of why this CMS news is not the be-all end-all solution that many seem to believe, check it out here:

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An 8th grade WhySharksMatter gets career advice

A few weeks ago, I went home to Pittsburgh to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. While there, I had the unenviable task of emptying out my childhood bedroom in preparation for my parents moving to a smaller place. I was apparently a bit of a pack rat growing up- while cleaning the room, I found every birthday card I had received and every test I had taken from elementary school through high school.  I also found the results of my 8th grade career aptitude test, taken in 1999.

Based on my skills and interests, the “Career Futures” computer had recommended three potential careers for me: high school science teacher, military officer specializing in intelligence gathering, and marine biologist. Some of you may also know that three years later, my high school guidance counselor half-jokingly recommended that I consider a career as the leader of a cult, but that’s a story for another time.

While taking a break from cleaning out my room, I looked over the full reports for each career choice. The description of the career of a marine biologist was of particular interest, since that’s what I actually ended up doing with my life (I am definitely not secretly working as a military intelligence officer, nothing to see here, move along).

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